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HELP - Kwikee entry steps inop.!


johnschnee

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HELP! I just had my entry steps replaced a month ago on my 2014 Bounder & they worked fine until a few days ago when, after a long drive, they worked fine initially but then suddenly won't extend at all! They make no sound & all efforts to search out a lose wire or a fuse have been in vain. I did notice when they first stopped operating that the motor seemed quite warm - don't think this heat build-up is from the drive train, so that's led me to believe the motor overheated & quite operating. I called the Camping World (over 8 hours away & not headed in that direction) that installed them & the service writer agreed it appeared to be an "electrical issue" & suggested I look for an in-line fuse, but I can't locate any & it's darn-near impossible to trace the wiring as they are all wrapped together leading into the engine compartment.

 

My owners manual tells me that there's a fuse in the power distribution box in the engine compartment (of course, it doesn't tell you which fuse!) & my Ford chassis manual gives me a schematic of the power distribution box but never mentions the entry steps! I'm tempted to just start pulling fuses one-by-one to look for one that's broken - anyone think that's a bad idea for any reason?

 

ANY suggestions would be appreciated! I've got only 48 hours before the Bounder is headed into storage here in NC & I'm headed home for 2 months! THANKS!!!!!!!!!!

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First of all, if there is an inline fuse, that usually means a fuse that is in one of those fuse holders that is not on a fuse block, like one of these.

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On a Ford chassis fuse block, the fuses that supply things in the part added by the RV manufacturer are usually labeled "body builder" followed by what it feeds, or if not designated, just the words "body builder" so that may help to narrow it down. Steps usually are powered by the chassis battery and occasionally by both/either battery, but not just the coach battery. The best way to check fuses is by using an ohm meter and the good ones will read 0 ohms through them, with anything more than a few ohms being bad.

 

There are several possibilities that could do what you have now. One is the motor failed, another the control board has failed, or for some reason the motor does not know the steps have reached the stored position and the motor has not powered down. With Kwikee that is detected by the control board when the motor stalls due to reaching the stops and no position switch is involved. A warm motor would seem to imply that the power didn't shut off like it should when the step reached the stop in the store position.

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I was having a similar issue with our steps after installing a new "brain". They work sometimes and sometimes they don't. Usually after a hard driving day or bumpy or wet day they won't deploy. I have messed with all the wiring and done the fuse checks as well as the two small resetable circuit breakers that are in the battery control box. After exhausting all the usual things, I decided to do what I used to do to fix things. I crawled under the m/h and beat on the motor (gently) with a hammer. Then I unplugged the four way plug and re-plugged it in. All of a sudden the steps deployed. So, I knew I had either a motor issue or a wiring disconnect issue. After arriving home yesterday after being on the road for 2 months, the steps failed to deploy. I crawled under and unplugged and re-plugged the wiring but no step. So, now I am thinking that the motor may be bad. I will report back after trying the hammer trick and let you know what happens. I think it might have something to do with the "brain" getting confused as to what it's supposed to do. I had the engine running when my wife tried to step out yesterday. She opened the door but the step failed to deploy so I said, let me turn off the ignition. I figured it would fix the problem but it didn't. So at this point in time, we have not step but I will figure it out. I refuse to throw more money at it until I can nail down the problem.

 

Ray

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Wouldn't your manual indicate where a fuse might be located ?

If you mean the RV owner's manual, small chance but worth checking. If you mean the Kwikee manual, probably not But it may help to use the service manual and I just found an updated one on line. I downloaded a copy for my records and you can get your copy from RV Technician Library. If you go to page 37 you will find a testing procedure.

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We had an issue with our Kwikee steps failing to deploy. I was able to solve the problem by removing the motor and removing the gear assembly, checking the motor by connecting to a battery and reversing the wires to be sure it worked in both directions and then reassembling after the motor worked fine. It has worked since then. My assumption is that it somehow jammed and by taking everything apart it unjammed. When I took it apart it kind of popped when the gears released. It is a consideration. Chuck

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Had the same when mine stopped. My SIL dropped the motor, checked it with 12 volts and it was fine, reinstalled and it worked for the next 3 years (no longer have the RV). I suspect the motor or gear was in a bad spot and running it broke everything back in.

 

My stairs had no limit switches, just current sensing. When at full up/down the current went high and that shut the stairs down. You can also have a bad door close switch, bound up linkage, door toggle (to leave open when the door is closed). Meter the motor to see if the unit is getting power. I would not try to troubleshoot the power problem but just run a new (fused) line out to the controller on the steps. Get the manual that Kirk suggested and review it.

 

Good luck, I also carried a small step stool (just in case) ;)

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If the light on the steps comes on there is power and ground for the unit. Make sure there is a magnet on the screen door at the bottom. That is what triggers the control box to function. You could use a separate magnet to trip the system to operate when the ignition is off. Some times there is dirt and grit that can bind the mechanical moving parts. That can make the control unit to trip out before there is any motion.

Next is to find someone to start testing for what is wrong.

 

 

Safe Travels. Vern

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If you go online to the Kwikee/Power Gear site, there is a great video on how to troubleshoot the whole thing. I crawled under ours yesterday, banged a coupled of times on the motor/mechanism and then disconnected and re-connected the 4 wire plug. I'm not sure which worked but all of a sudden the step deployed. I'm pretty sure it's that 4 wire plug so I will have to clean all the terminals and squirt some dialectric grease into it. Road travel seems to be the culprit. After 4 hours on a bumpy California freeway, the step failed to come out upon arriving back home. DW not happy. Motor home for sale.

 

Ray

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I crawled under ours yesterday, banged a coupled of times on the motor/mechanism and then disconnected and re-connected the 4 wire plug. I'm not sure which worked but all of a sudden the step deployed. I'm pretty sure it's that 4 wire plug so I will have to clean all the terminals and squirt some dialectric grease into it. Road travel seems to be the culprit.

Bad electrical connections would seem to be likely. Make sure that the plug is such that it will stay securely in place and remember that dielectric grease does not improve electrical connections but prevents moisture and dirt from getting into things.

 

Dielectric grease is a non-conductive, silicone-based grease that's designed to seal out moisture and prevent corrosion on electrical connectors. It also disrupts the flow of electrical current, which makes it good for lubricating and sealing the rubber parts of electrical connectors. It's commonly used in automotive spark plug wires, recreational and utility vehicles, and electrical systems in aircraft.

Physical Properties

This material is a translucent, gray lubricant that does not dissolve in liquids like ethanol, methanol, mineral oil, and water. It can be dissolved with Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK) and mineral spirits though. Dielectric grease affects silicone rubber over time, so it isn't always a good choice to use it on silicone-based O-rings or wiring harnesses.

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HELP! I just had my entry steps replaced a month ago on my 2014 Bounder & they worked fine until a few days ago when, after a long drive, they worked fine initially but then suddenly won't extend at all! They make no sound & all efforts to search out a lose wire or a fuse have been in vain. I did notice when they first stopped operating that the motor seemed quite warm - don't think this heat build-up is from the drive train, so that's led me to believe the motor overheated & quite operating. I called the Camping World (over 8 hours away & not headed in that direction) that installed them & the service writer agreed it appeared to be an "electrical issue" & suggested I look for an in-line fuse, but I can't locate any & it's darn-near impossible to trace the wiring as they are all wrapped together leading into the engine compartment.

 

My owners manual tells me that there's a fuse in the power distribution box in the engine compartment (of course, it doesn't tell you which fuse!) & my Ford chassis manual gives me a schematic of the power distribution box but never mentions the entry steps! I'm tempted to just start pulling fuses one-by-one to look for one that's broken - anyone think that's a bad idea for any reason?

 

ANY suggestions would be appreciated! I've got only 48 hours before the Bounder is headed into storage here in NC & I'm headed home for 2 months! THANKS!!!!!!!!!!

 

I would check the heavy green ground wire the attached to the rv frame for corrosion first. There is usually a special washer that is used to secure the ground. Make sure that it is also free of corrosion.

Then as others had mentioned, check the alignment of the door magnets.

 

The linkage to the motor is subject to all kinds of the road debris and dirt. It should be kept clean and lubed to prevent hang ups.

One of my friends installed a mud flap ahead of the steps to keep as much the mud and moisture away from the motor & this has helped him.

 

Others had said to disconnect the linkage to the motor , and test the motor. This is one of the things that Kwickee advises.

 

Make sure that your control board is an updated one for that model. There were a few problems with some of the earlier control boards.

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Thank you all very much for your suggestions: we had to leave our Bounder, with it's inop. entry steps, in storage in NC until we go back down there in late Dec to pick it up & head to SUNNY FL for the Winter. We've got an appt. at a Camping World along the way for the steps to be repaired under the warranty.

THANKS!!!

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